OMAHA, Neb. – Two West Coast Conference head volleyball coaches and a former WCC Player of the Year, helped lead Team USA to victory at the 2015 World Grand Prix Finals. Loyola Marymount’s Tom Black served as an assistant coach, Saint Mary’s Rob Browning was team manager and former Pepperdine All-American Kim Hill started at outside hitter.
Black, Browning and Hill, helped guide the Americans past five nations, all ranked in the top seven in the world, in five days, securing the sixth Grand Prix crown for the United States. Russia took the silver and Brazil earned the bronze medal.
Hill, the 2014 FIVB Grand Prix Most Outstanding Player, turned in another strong tournament and recorded 11 kills, a block and three aces in a 3-1 victory against Russia in the semifinals. Under his title with the National Team, Black's primary responsibility was working with the setters and the team offense. Working directly under his instruction, Molly Kreklow was named "Best setter" of Grand Prix.
The U.S. used a different lineup each night and got big contributions from two newcomers on the world scene: opposite Karsta Lowe, who joined the program this year, led the Americans in scoring with 79 points and 65 kills; and setter Molly Kreklow, who was given the responsibility of running the offense. Lowe and Kreklow led a parade of U.S. players on the all-tournament team and award-winners: Kreklow (Best Setter), Christa Dietzen (Best Middle Blocker) and Kelsey Robinson (Best Outside Hitter). Lowe was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
Next up for Team USA will be the first Olympic qualifier next month in Japan, the FIVB World Cup, which begins Aug. 22. The U.S. players, including those on the gold-medal winning Pan American Games team, will take one week off, then start a two-week training block in Anaheim, Calif.
For the complete USA Volleyball release following Team USA at the Grand Prix, please click the link below.
Team USA Finishes Grand Prix Undefeated